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How Does An Avatar Represent An Individual?
On online platforms, people opt for avatars to represent them. Avatars, therefore, are representations used by individuals to express their individualities and personalities online. Often, an avatar takes a square form that goes out with messages or any other shared by the profile owner through the online platform (Seo et al. 69). Although few pay attention to what avatars they use, the avatar a person chooses sends more messages than most people would know or admit. According to Katrina Fong, people are the products of their choices, and avatars are such choices (7). Whether it is a person’s photo, a physical feature, an emoji, or an emoticon, avatars represent an individual’s aspect, either emotional or psychological, consciously or unconsciously.
In some cases, the avatars owners do not recognize that they possess the traits portrayed by the avatar, but their friends or relatives could. However, the avatars could be the complete opposite of the owner, represent what they hope to become, or express what they believe in, fear, or advocate (Yoon et al. 80). Although the avatars are portraits and their small nature could not reveal much, the posture used, facial expressions, or the body language observable sends a message to any person who sees them. A change of avatar represents new identities, aspects, or views. Besides, the owner may seek a different understanding among people or be tired of the previous avatar (Fong 86). Therefore, avatars are a communication method that sends a message about the owner, whether intentional or not.
In summary, whether a person chooses their images, animals, celebrities, abstracts, or any other form of avatars, they are representing a part of them, whether consciously or unconsciously. Although there are people who keep their avatars for a long, there are those who change theirs frequently. However, those who often change their avatars represent an unstable personality and make it difficult for others to identify their characters or understand them.
Fong, Katrina Ashley. “Reflecting and Shaping the Self through Avatars: The Relationship
between Avatars, Identity, and Personal Needs.” (2017).
Seo, Y., Kim, M., Jung, Y., and Lee, D. Avatar face recognition and self-presence. Computers in
Human Behavior, 69, 120-127. (2017). doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.12.020
Yoon, Gunwoo, and Patrick T. Vargas. “I see myself through my avatar: Evidence from East
Asia and North America for acculturated effects on virtual representation preference.” Asiascape: Digital Asia 3.1-2 (2016): 79-96.